Folic acid, mutation and wellness

47096319_MDo you feel a lack of energy? Confused, sometimes? Depression that you cannot link to any other cause?

A range of seemingly unrelated symptoms may be the result of the way that your body processes folate, or vitamin B9. Folic acid is an essential vitamin, and while supplements can make up for a lack of vitamin B9 in the diet, some otherwise healthy people have a genetic mutation that interferes with the body’s ability to process it, called methylation. This can be treated.

Folate

Folate, folacin or vitamin B9 is an essential vitamin. We need it to metabolize amino acids, which are needed for cell division, part of the process of growth and maintenance of body tissues.

Folate deficiency can lead to a certain form of anemia, in which red blood cells are enlarged and immature. Symptoms include feeling tired, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and open sores on the tongue.

Pregnant women are often prescribed folic acid supplements to prevent miscarriages as well as certain birth defects in their babies, including neural tube defects, spina bifida and congenital heart defects. This is especially important in the first trimester.

Some studies have found that folic acid supplements for pregnant women reduced the risk of autism spectrum disorders by 23%. Folic supplements have been linked to reductions in rates of heart disease, stroke and congenital heart defects. Folate deficiency has also been linked with diarrhea, depression, confusion, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline. Long-term insufficiency may increase the risks of colorectal, breast, ovarian, pancreas, brain, lung, cervical and prostate cancers.

Sources

Because humans cannot make folate, we must get it from food. The recommended daily intake of folate for adults is 400 micrograms. Dark, leafy vegetables such as lentils, asparagus, spinach and lettuce are good sources of folate. Peanuts and sunflower seed kernels are also very rich sources of folate, as are chickpeas, soybeans and walnuts. Chicken liver and calf liver are meats that are excellent sources, as well.

The MTHFR mutation

Methylation, the process in which the body uses folate, is controlled by the gene MTHFR. It’s responsible for producing an enzyme called Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), which is a catalyst, or trigger, for the production of DNA and RNA and in cell division.

There are a number of possible mutations in the MTHFR gene, most of which are benign. However, one called C677T can interfere with the methylation process, leading to puzzling and often serious symptoms of a condition called hyperhomocysteinemia, or excels levels of a hormone called homocysteine.

Our research has found a number of conditions and symptoms either caused or made worse by the MTHFR mutation, from autism to asthma, to male infertility to various cancers.

Treatment

As with all treatments at Proactive Wellness Centers, we begin with a comprehensive assessment of your health and your body. This includes a complete lab panel of blood and other fluid tests. We also perform an advanced genetics panel, Cartoid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT) tests to measure the thickness of the inner layers of the arteries and, if indicated, food sensitivity testing. These tests give us a full picture of your overall health and needs.

With this, we can develop dietary and lifestyle guidelines suited to your health needs, age and sensitivities. For example, we may recommend adding a green smoothie to your daily diet. We may also recommend reducing or eliminating consumption of:

  • dairy products
  • gluten
  • processed foods
  • antacids

Depending on the lab results, symptoms and age, we may also recommend adjustments to your lifestyle. These could include:

  • eliminating carpeting from your home
  • filtering chlorine from drinking water
  • using an electric rather than a gas stove

Nutritional supplements

At Proactive Wellness Centers, we have found that nutritional supplementation is key to advancing a patient’s overall wellness. But treating a long-term folate deficiency caused by the MTHFR mutation requires more than a simple folic acid pill once a day. Each patient requires the right supplements at the right time.

For example, methylated folate can make inflammation worse, so in a patient with a folate deficiency, inflammation must be treated before adding folate supplements.

Other possible supplements could include:

  • broad-spectrum intravenous vitamin therapy
  • multivitamins (excluding B9 or folic acid)
  • glutathione
  • fish oil
  • nattokinase
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D3
  • probiotics

Then, we would consider adding methylated folate, as long as the patient is not inflamed.

The right solution

Every body is unique, and that means that every treatment regimen must be uniquely tailored to the patient’s needs.

Imbalances in one part or one system of the body may manifest symptoms in other parts. Rather than focusing on one system or symptom, as specialists do, we take a functional medicine approach to find the root causes. In this way, we can develop a protocol that works for each individual.

If you have symptoms that you cannot account for or that successive specialists have failed to address, book an appointment for an assessment to put you on the path to optimal, life-long wellness.

6 tips for starting a meditation practice

Meditation is on the rise, and for a good reason. Practicing meditation eases stress and anxiety and even has a physical effect. Some studies show that the incidence of heart disease and other complications is lowered by those who employ the breathing techniques and peacefulness that comes with meditation. 52942829_M

For those who want to start meditating, sometimes too much thought goes into how to begin. Meditation is about mindfulness, not overexertion of your thoughts. Here are six simple ways to get started.

1. Start small.
Remember not to feel overwhelmed. This may be new to you, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Begin — the rest is easy.

2. Form a designated space.
Your meditation space can be anywhere, including a corner of your living room or the floor of your office. Don’t feel like you have to have a room solely for meditation; any space where you know that is where you can go to practice is the space for you.

3. Meditate on a schedule.
Don’t worry if you don’t follow your schedule exactly. Simply having some semblance of a schedule will keep you motivated to continue on your new-found meditation journey.

4. Utilize an app.
There are so many phone applications now, such as Calm and Headspace, that guide you in meditation. Both of these apps track your meditation activities in some way, and they serve as a fun way to stay motivated.

5. Consider investing in comfort.
Meditation is all about being in the moment, but how can you focus on anything else during your meditation time if you’re distracted by a chair that forces you to keep adjusting how you’re sitting.

6. Let others know your intentions.
Whether it’s a spouse, your children or a roommate, letting those you live with know that you want to pick up the practice of meditation will help them understand when you take a moment to yourself.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be comfortable practicing the art of meditation in no time. Remember to begin small, and all the rest will fall into place.

Your body type should help determine your treatment plan

42109334 - family sharing mealEverybody is unique, and that means that every body is unique, too. Which means that your optimal health plan should be unique — tailored to your individual, unique body size and shape.

In clinical terms, this involves a complete understanding of your morphology, or body shape and composition, and metabolism, which is how your body stores and uses energy.

Indicators of morphology

While weight and height are, at best, crude indicators of body shape, we have found that the ratio of waist and hip measurements to chest, shoulders and other measurements can be very useful.

A number of medical studies tell us that fat buildup around the waist is more dangerous than elsewhere in the body. It’s associated with higher incidence of heart disease, heart attack, stroke and other critical illnesses.

Body composition

One of the most important measurements for your body is the proportion of total body fat. Men require at least 3-5 % body fat, with 8-18% the idea range. Clinical obesity starts at 22% body fat.

For women, the ideal range is 18-25% total body fat; clinical obesity starts at 32%.

Of course, obesity presents a number of health problems, including added stress to joints and skeleton. But at one point, excess body fat can lead to insulin resistance, also known as metabolic syndrome.

Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose, or blood sugar, to enter cells to “burn” as energy. In insulin resistance, cells do not respond normally to insulin, which leads to excess sugar levels in the bloodstream. This in turn leads to formation of new fatty tissue and accelerated weight gain, leading to more strain on the body’s systems, as well as potentially to diabetes and liver disease.

For men, insulin resistance can start to happen at around 29% body fat, and for women at 32%. This is a serious concern that can lead to hypertension, heart disease and even cancer.

At Proactive Wellness Centers, we do more than put a tape measure around your shoulders, chest and waist. We look to find out exactly how much of your total mass is lean, fat and water. We use a range of technologies to give us a full picture of exactly what you’re made of.

One of our most important tools is the InBody 570 body composition analyzer from GE/Inbody. This device looks like the weight scale you would find in most physicians’ offices or at a gym, with extra handles. The handles, however, are electrodes. When you hold the electrodes, the InBody 570 sends a mild electrical current through your body, and measure the impedance (a type of electrical resistance).

In 45 seconds, the device tells us the proportion of total body fat, Fat Mass (FM), and Fat Free Mass (FFM), and water in your body.

This helps us produce a complete picture of you and your health, with the goal of producing a plan for your optimal, lifelong wellness.

Your lifelong wellness plan

Everyone’s body is unique, and that means that everyone should have a wellness plan that is tailored to their unique shape, size and health circumstances. Visit our website to get started on finding your lifelong wellness plan.

Is it safe to lose a lot of weight quickly?

Low Section Of Woman Standing On Weighing Scale“Lose 10 pounds in 10 days!” While fad diets over-promise and underdeliver weight loss and health benefits, losing a lot of weight quickly can strain your system and put your health at risk. But there are situations where fast, managed weight loss is important.

In these cases, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the goal and the reasons for rapid weight loss. What’s essential here is a clear, medically derived plan for weight loss.

Start with evaluation

The managed plan starts with a complete evaluation of your body composition. The first step is up to you: bringing in a food diary that documents everything you eat for at least a week. Your doctor will review it to provide you with guidance toward an eating plan that works for you and your weight loss goals.

We then go to the InBody 520 evaluation from BIOSPACE. This gives us a complete understanding of your body composition. We’ll repeat this every two weeks over a 90-day period to monitor your progress.

Lab tests will inform the evaluation.

The evaluation takes into account factors that could contribute to your body’s resistance to weight loss:

  • depressed metabolism
  • hypothyroidism, or reduced activity of the thyroid gland
  • insulin resistance
  • high cortisol levels
  • food allergies and sensitivities
  • toxic burden
  • chronic sleep deprivation
  • neurotransmitter imbalances
  • hormone imbalances.

Treatment plan

With a complete picture of your current health and a clear goal, we can work out a 12-week weight loss plan together. This includes:

  • eating or diet plan, including sample meal plans and nutritional supplements
  • exercise and activity plan
  • educational materials.

All of these are organized into a binder so you can easily find the information you need, when you need it.

Ongoing monitoring

Achieving an ambitious weight-loss goal takes more than planning. As our name suggests, at Proactive Wellness Centers we focus on action. We give you the guidance, knowledge and the tools you’ll need to achieve your healthy weight, and we follow up with regular email and phone support with your assigned physician.

You’ll also be coming into the clinic every two weeks — six times over the three month period. This way, your physician will be able to track your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your diet plan, nutritional supplements, hormonal balance and other prescriptions.

We’ll work together to help you get to your optimal health. Call or email us today to set up a meeting to find you how you can take charge of your health now.

Prevent heart attack and stroke

closeup of hands holding red heart with familyHeart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States today — causing as many as one in four of all deaths. And this applies equally to every group, whether on the basis of ethnicity, gender or walk of life.

Ironically, or perhaps fortunately, many of the underlying causes of heart disease can be avoided with intervention and treatment. In other words, we know how to solve this problem.

Prevalence of heart disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is responsible for about 610,000 deaths in the United States every year. That’s one in every four deaths.

According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of the population of the United States has some kind of cardio-vascular disease. The most common type is coronary heart disease, which is caused by the buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This narrows the arteries, reducing the flow of blood and ultimately can lead to a heart attack.

Every year, 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. About a third of these are second or subsequent heart attacks — they happen to people who have already had a heart attack.

Risk factors for heart disease

The key risk factors linked to heart disease are high blood pressure or hypertension, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking. However, the latest data shows that 60 percent of people who have a heart attack have normal levels of cholesterol in their blood. This means that standard cholesterol tests are not useful for predicting who is at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Other factors that increase the risk of developing heart disease include:

  • overweight and obesity
  • diabetes
  • poor diet
  • lack of exercise or physical activity
  • excessive alcohol use.

Heart attack and stroke prevention

At Proactive Wellness Centers, we have developed programs targeting cardiovascular disease.

Advanced Cardiac Evaluation (ACE) begins with advanced testing using True Health Lab’s (TH) advanced testing. This has been proven to provide better information in identifying the presence of cardiovascular disease.

Advanced carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) imaging combined with emerging, scientifically validated biomarkers, uses simple blood tests to identify cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease formations that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

CIMT is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses ultrasound imaging to measure the intima-media, the innermost two layers of the wall of an artery. We use it to measure the thickness of the carotid artery, the big artery in the neck that carries blood to the head. This test allows us to quickly find the presence of atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the artery due to plaque build-up. It’s a major predictor of heart disease and heart attack.

Next, the HeartSmartIMTplus test evaluates the characteristics of plaque build-up. Softer plaque is more likely to break off, which can lead to a blockage and heart attack or stroke.

Once we have identified the presence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, we can move on to the Advanced Cardiac Treatment (ACT) program to prevent, mitigate and reverse the progress of the disease.

Prevention strategies

There are steps we can all take to help prevent the onset of heart disease.

  • Know your risk factors: get the tests to measure inflammation, plaque and other risk factors, as well as your family history of heart disease.
  • CIMT: the non-invasive tests that detects the presence of plaque build-up in your arteries, and determine its characteristics as described above.
  • Eat a healthy diet high in fresh vegetables and fruits, reduced in sodium and moderate in total caloric content.
  • Exercise regularly: at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. This does not have to be extreme. Just 25 minutes of walking each day can be enough.
  • Get enough sleep: Recent research has found a link between insufficient sleep and higher risk of heart disease. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend at least seven and a half hours of sleep per night for adults, and more for children and adolescents.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for developing heart disease. The previous two steps, a healthy diet and regular exercise, are the two most important components of life-long weight control. Research also finds a link between insufficient sleep and excess weight.
  • Get the right vitamin supplements, particularly COQ10. This is an enzyme crucial to energy creation at the cellular level, especially in cardiac or heart tissues. We recommend at least 200 mg daily, and up to 400 mg for patients at higher risk of heart disease.
  • Work with your preventative medicine specialist for controlling other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, genetic factors and other risks.

Find your cholesterol profile

Don’t put your health off any longer. You can get your full cardiac risk profile with an Advanced Cardiac Evaluation — just call us at 703-822-5003, or use our online contact form to set up your appointment.

Or, if you know your status and just want your CIMT score, you can schedule just a CIMT scan and a 30-minute follow-up visit.

Be proactive — take charge of your health today.

Heart disease: The silent killer

31053823 - senior man relaxing in autumn landscapeThanks to advances in modern medicine and disease prevention, Americans are living longer, healthier lives than ever. But a silent killer still stalks us. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide.

The good news? Proactive Wellness Centers is a preventive medicine specialist that is able to help you minimize and mitigate your risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, susceptible genetics and other key risk factors. We also offer Advanced Cardiac Evaluation (ACE) and Advanced Cardiac Treatment (ACT) programs to help patients prevent, reverse and mitigate cardiovascular disease.

Knowing your risk is extremely important. We have the Carotid Intima Media Thickness (CIMT) with HeartSmartIMTplus™, a non-invasive and cost-effective diagnostic tool that uses ultrasound imaging to provide the earliest detection of cardiovascular disease. The test takes only 10 minutes and is done in our office. Specifically, HeartSmartIMTplus™ measures the intima media thickness of the carotid artery to determine the presence of sub-clinical atherosclerosis (cardiovascular disease that is undetected by other tests).

Here are some other ways to reduce your risk of heart disease:

Take plenty of COQ10. This is a critical enzyme that is at the root of energy creation at the cellular level, especially in the cardiac tissues. For patients at higher risk, we recommend 400 mg daily and for patients at lower risk, we recommend 200 mg daily. A recent long-term study supports the use of CoQ10 in combination with Selenium.

Controlling your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease.

Getting enough exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day. Walking is great exercise.

Eating a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit saturated fats and high levels of sodium and sugar.

Getting regular cholesterol checks. Work with your physician to keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease.

Quitting smoking. If you smoke, stop.

Limit alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to heart disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is often not diagnosed until an individual experiences signs or symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia. The symptoms for each:

Heart attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath.

Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations).

Heart failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins.

Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease. Learn more about our CIMT test and other ways we can help you prevent and manage heart disease by visiting our website: http://proactivewellness.com

 

What are antioxidants and why do you need them?

Medical capsule with fruit. Vitamins and supplements. DifferentYou may have heard of antioxidants, and how eating things like berries can absorb free radicals, boosting your health. It sounds good, and who would turn down berries?

What are antioxidants? What are free radicals? What do they do to your body? And how do they affect your health?

Free radicals

At every moment of our lives, our body’s cells are busy converting sugar into energy. This allows us to move, to digest food, to breathe; it allows our hearts to pump blood, our brains to process the input of our senses into a conception of our natural environment — in short, life.

As this happens, the chemical reactions at the cellular level produce, among other things, free radicals. These are chemicals, atoms or molecules that each have a single unpaired valence electron. Chemically, this makes them highly reactive.

While many free radicals are generated by processing food and converting sugar to energy, others can be absorbed from the air we breathe, and some are created by the interaction of sunlight on our skin.

As they move through the bloodstream and other body systems, free radicals interact with other molecules and cells in a process called oxidation. Chemically, oxidation is the same as combustion, burning or rusting.

Free radicals are essential to a number of essential life processes, such as fighting off infection. However, when the body has an imbalance in the amount of free radicals, it can experience a state called oxidative stress.

Research has associated oxidative stress with a range of diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, among many others.

Other symptoms of oxidative stress can range from arthritis pain to eczema and migraines. One sign can be a build-up of lipid peroxides.

Antioxidants to the rescue

Fortunately, we’re not helpless against free radicals. Our bodies also produce chemicals called antioxidants. As their name implies, they tend to produce chemical reactions that work against oxidation.

We can also get antioxidants from food, especially unprocessed fruits and vegetables and other plants. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants. Berries are also high in other antioxidants.

The way forward

Experiencing a range of symptoms with unclear causes can be a sign of oxidative stress and excess lipid peroxides. A simple urine test can measure these markers.

From there, we can perform a blood analysis to identify food sensitivities and allergies that could be associated with health symptoms. An IgG Food Antibody Profile, for instance, tests for sensitivity to 30 common food antigens.

With this information in hand, we can develop a program tailored to your specific metabolic needs. It would include food, nutrition and supplements designed to bring your body into balance.

Contact us about working up your comprehensive metabolic profile and take charge of your health.

Five ways to stay healthy and happy this holiday season

34792251_MWith so many things on your to-do list this time of the year, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The stress of gift-giving, holiday events and activities and family get-togethers can lead to stress. Unhealthy foods and flu viruses seem to be everywhere. That’s why we wanted to share with you some simple (yet highly effective!) ways to stay healthy and happy this holiday season:

Stick with a healthy diet. At Proactive Wellness Centers, we generally favor the Mediterranean and Paleo diets. Both are balanced, healthy approaches to eating. The Mediterranean diet focuses on daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats, weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs, dairy in moderation and limited amounts of red meat. We understand the holidays are full of delicious sugary sweets practically everywhere you turn! Enjoy the treats of the season in moderation while remaining committed to healthy meals. The American Dietetic Association says eating healthy is a great way to boost immunity and prevent flu.

Warm up before activity. Exercise can help combat stress, but can also lead to injures if you aren’t prepared. Whether you’re shoveling snow, skiing, skating, sledding or enjoying some other type of wintertime activity, warm up first and don’t forget cool-down stretching. Warming up and cooling down can reduce your chances of injury. For some easy warm-up and cool-down exercises, go to this link.

Try meditating. Feeling yourself becoming overwhelmed? Closing your eyes, listening to some soothing music and taking deep, cleansing breaths can really help. Not sure where to start? There’s a variety of top-rated free and low-cost apps that can help. One is the Calm app. Calm offers guided meditation with soothing music in 3- to 25-minute sessions. Want to develop a daily meditation practice? Try Daily Calm, the app’s 10-minute program that helps you meditate in the mornings or evenings. You can also check out or purchase a book on meditation.

Don’t overdo it. Only commit to how much you’re willing to do, even if it means only one big event per day. If two major family gatherings happen to fall in the same time period, know it’s OK to pick just one—or invite people to come to you. Learning to say no is important, especially over the holidays.

Make time for enjoyable activities. Make sure you’re taking time during this busy season to do things you truly enjoy. Activities such as reading a book or enjoying a cup of hot tea can provide an escape from the daily hustle and bustle. Take regular breaks to simply look after your own well-being.

Founded in 2006, Proactive Wellness Centers (PWC) is a leading integrative and functional medicine practice serving Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania. Learn more about us on our website: http://proactivewellness.com.

Could your allergy really be mold illness?

51186706_MOne of the most prevalent and least appreciated health concerns today is caused by exposure to mold. A quarter of the U.S. population is sensitive to molds and don’t know it. And a major part of the problem is that mold illness is often mistaken for allergies, Lyme disease, depression, PTSD or even multiple sclerosis, among other illnesses.

Mold illness is not an allergic reaction, however. It’s an acute, chronic and systemic inflammatory response to toxins released by molds. Also known as mold sickness, mold toxicity or biotoxin illness, it can lead to severe complications — even death, in extreme cases. That’s why we take it very seriously at Proactive Wellness Centers, and develop individual plans to treat it.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is mold?

Mold is a type of fungus. Mold can be found everywhere, but it’s usually invisible to the naked eye until it has grown into large colonies of interconnected networks of individual organisms. It often appears as a fuzzy layer on food, or a slimy coating on a surface, in a wide range of colors.

There are thousands of different species in the world. Unlike plants, mold cannot photosynthesize its own food, so it needs some kind of food source as well as moisture to grow. This is why you’ll find mold growing on fruits and vegetables as well as in damp areas. It can also develop in poorly maintained air conditioning and ventilation systems.

Molds reproduce by producing large amounts of spores that spread by wind or in water. Some cling to clothing or fur, as well. When it finds a suitable environment, grows, and reproduces again. However, the spores can survive a long time before finding a favorable habitat, even in extremes of temperature and pressure.

Most molds don’t start to grow or reproduce at temperatures below 39 degrees F, which is why we refrigerate food down to that temperature. However, any mold spores on refrigerated foods will survive in a dormant stage until the temperature goes up again — which is why you may find fuzz on your peaches after you take them out of the refrigerator overnight.

Mold exposure

A few mold species produce chemicals called mycotoxins that can cause health problems or even death in other organisms, including humans.

Symptoms of mold exposure are similar to a wide range of other causes:

  • watery, itchy eyes
  • chronic cough
  • sneezing
  • headache
  • rash
  • difficulty breathing
  • fatigue
  • Sinus and nasal blockage

This is why mold illness is easily misidentified as an allergic reaction, a cold or other illness.

Black mold is often found in water-damaged buildings — in insulation or wallpaper, for instance — following a flood. It can cause severe lung problems.

Why mold illness happens

The human body cannot process mold. About a quarter of the population has a genetic profile that makes them susceptible to mold illness. This happens because of a series of biochemical changes known as the biotoxin pathway.

Diagnosis

At Proactive Wellness Centers, we use a multi-phase process to confirm mold response and then identify the source of the biotoxin. We use a number of different tests, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to distinguish CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) from Lyme disease, and a range of different genetic and genomics-based tests to personalize the diagnosis and treatment to the individual patient’s body chemistry and needs.

Our Environment Relative Moldiness Index, or ERMI, uses DNA to determine which mold species are present in the patient’s home or workplace. This way, we can find out which biotoxins are affecting the patient, and the extent of the mold problem.

Treatment

Once we have positively identified the presence of mold illness, the type of mold and its source, we can develop a treatment protocol that’s based on the specific health profile and needs of the individual patient.

  1. Get you away from biotoxins—The first step is to end the exposure to mold by getting the patient out of the harmful environment.
  2. Remove biotoxins from the body—Two binding agents, Welchol and cholestyramine, bind to biotoxins in organs and helps to carry them out of the body.
  3. Eradicate infections—About 80% of people with mold illness and other chronic inflammatory conditions have Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci infection, or MARCoNS. This is an antibiotic-resistant staph infection deep in the nose. Removing it allows the patient to return to health.
  4. Clean up the terrain—The road back to health is different for everyone. It can involve evaluating the presence of antigliadin antibodies for non-celiac gluten sensitivity and rebalancing hormones. At every step, we re-test to confirm the body’s balance has been corrected.
  5. Clean up the environment—It makes no sense to return to a moldy, infectious environment. With the specific mold identified, we can help advise the patient on where to look for it in the home or workplace, and how to remove it. Black mold, for example, can be very harmful and may be in an out-of-the-way spot, such as a basement or attic, or between walls.
  6. Develop a proactive diet—To prevent a return of a mold reaction, we work with each patient to find a diet that avoids foods likely to carry molds and mycotoxin, including corn, rye, wheat, rice, peanuts, cottonseed, oil seeds, some cheeses, black pepper, dried fruits, bread and alcoholic beverages.

Don’t wait

Too many people suffer needlessly without realizing their fatigue, nausea, headaches, rashes or other symptoms are caused by mold illness. Many more will waste time and resources seeing allergists and other doctors who are unable to identify the cause of their symptoms, or worse, treat the wrong thing.

If you have any of the symptoms listed above and have not found the cause, call us at Proactive Wellness Centers to set up an appointment and get back on the road to health.

Healthy living for kids

19809673 - happy hispanic people parents giving children piggybackThe holiday season seems to start earlier every year. Love it or hate it, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah and all the associated school and neighborhood parties can pose a challenge to maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.

This is especially true for children, who have a lot to keep them busy at this time of year. Not to mention that it’s also cold and flu season.

So here are some tips for parents to help keep their kids healthy at least until the new year.

Keep healthy food choices in reach

There will inevitably be lots of yummy treats, desserts and sweets available to kids from many sources at this time of year. So keep lots of healthy options on hand throughout this season — plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy snacks and nutritious meals.

Make sure everyone starts the day with a healthy breakfast to provide them the fuel and energy they’ll need for a busy day.

Try to avoid buying high-calorie, sweetened drinks — there’ll doubtless be lots of opportunity to drink those outside of the home.

Don’t use food as a reward. This encourages the development of poor eating habits.

Get kids involved

We all feel motivated to be healthier when we’re involved in the decision, and kids are no different. Involve them in meal planning and preparation. Have each child help out in making at least one meal a week.

Stay active

With shorter days and colder temperatures, it’s always tempting to give up on outdoor activities at this time of year. Which means parents need to plan ahead. Try to make sure everyone gets between 30 and 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This doesn’t have to be all at once. A couple of walks through the day can add up. Housework, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work or at school, and physical play at home all add up.

Bring the kids grocery shopping. This gets them more involved in making healthy eating choices, and it’s physical activity, too.

If you have a stationary bicycle or other exercise equipment in your home, don’t let it gather dust just because you’re busy with planning or celebrating the holidays.

And there are still plenty of activities you can do outdoors, from simple walks to a game of catch or shooting hoops. Keep it simple and fun.

Avoid infections

Cold and flu season is here. The number one way to reduce your chances of catching one from someone else is frequent, good hand-washing with soap and warm water.

Everyone should also get a flu vaccination every year. And while you’re at it, check to make sure everyone’s immunizations are up to date.

Set a good example

Even though they may not admit it, kids learn their habits from their parents. Model healthy behavior by eating right yourself, staying active every day, not smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation.

For more information on staying healthy, visit our Nutrition and Lifestyle page.